East Lothian Council

A museum for Musselburgh

Published Wednesday 1st July 09

A museum for Musselburgh

The venue for the new Musselburgh Museum has been announced on the town’s High Street.

65 High Street, Musselburgh, is a Council-owned property directly beside the historic Old Town Hall (the Tolbooth). The 895 sq ft unit was previously used as a shop but has been lying vacant since December. As a museum, it will provide bright, spacious accommodation that is fully accessible for disabled visitors.
The announcement of the venue follows a full option appraisal exercise carried out in 2007 on behalf of the Council's Museum's Service. The review examined proposals for a community museum in Musselburgh and the re-establishment of the North Berwick museum. Consultation events were held with community heritage groups and other interested individuals attending.

The review found that although there was support for a museum in the Old Town Hall due to its iconic significance in the town, the museum would have had to be situated on the first floor as there are established businesses on the ground floor. This would have created significant challenges providing disabled access and there would have been insufficient space for museum displays and visitor facilities.

In contrast, the vacant unit will provide fully accessible, spacious accommodation that can house a modern museum and associated facilities. The Musselburgh Museum Committee will run the Musselburgh Museum in partnership with East Lothian Council's Museums Service. It is due to open in 2010.

Cabinet member for Community Services and Chair of the East Lothian Heritage Forum, Councillor Currie said:

  "The Old Town Hall is a focal point on Musselburgh High Street but there were significant challenges turning the first floor of a listed building into a modern museum that would adequately house Musselburgh's heritage and be fully accessible. When this adjoining property became available, we moved quickly. We will be working in partnership with the Musselburgh Museum Committee to deliver a new museum to the community in 2010."  

Posters have been hung in the windows showing old images of the town and letting the community know of the museum's position. These will be updated as the development progresses. There is also a dedicated website address.

Sheila Henderson from the Musselburgh Museum Committee said:

 "We are delighted to be working with East Lothian Council to provide a permanent museum for Musselburgh something we have worked for since the 1980s. We are conscious of the support that we have received from the people of Musselburgh over the years and look forward to hearing what they have to say as we plan for the opening of the new museum.

"The Committee is looking both to strengthen its membership now and in due course to recruit a team of volunteers to staff the new premises. There will be an opportunity to the learn more about the proposals in the Museum Committee's fifteenth major exhibition, I Kent His Faither, that opens for three weeks on 6th July in the Old Town Hall."


Pictured top right (l-r): Simon Fairnie, Elaine Middleton, Cllr Currie and Sheila Henderson outside the venue for the new Musselburgh Museum. Below, the posters attract the attention of some passers-by.

A museum for Musselburgh

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